New shooting deaths on Rochester streets brought renewed calls for action .
New shooting deaths on Rochester streets brought renewed calls for action from faith leaders Tuesday, as well as a tribute in fabric to the fallen.
"Our hearts are locked together in this unending hellish suffering," exclaimed Rev. Lewis Stewart, president of the United Christian Leadership Ministry. "It is a spiritual problem."
The event followed the Monday night shooting death of 22-year-old Anthony Lawson who was shot and killed on Lyell Avenue.
That incident followed the shooting deaths of two men on Wilkins Street in Rochester on Thursday, Sept. 20.
"Black lives not only matter when we are dealing with cops," Stewart declared. "...black lives also matter when other black people shoot our children."
To confront what he called a spiritual problem, Stewart called on Rochester faith communities to join together in an unprecedented network to reach out into communities and discourage young people from resorting to violence.
While local churches often hosted vigils and services after violent tragedies and individually reached out to troubled communities to advocate peaceful solutions, Stewart said more needed to be done.
"There are too few churches involved in the pain and the suffering of their community," he said. "They'll go out and they'll pray. That's done. But in terms of what I'm asking. They're not doing it."
"Clergy need to stop staying behind that pulpit," said Maudine Brown, whose two nephews were killed in shootings on Rochester streets."You got people dying right around the doorsteps of churches and the churches never say anything about it. They need to come out and be involved."
Brown joined other relatives of shooting victims in the unveiling of the Mother's Quilt, a 12' x 6' quilt that displays the names and pictures of shooting victims like 23-year-old Michael Washington. Washington was shot and killed in 2009.
Washington's appearance on the quilt took his mother Retha Rogers back to that awful day, but also gave her comfort.
"He is being recognized," she said upon seeing the quilt for the first time. "When they see that, they will know that a name comes with a picture. That he was a person. It wasn't just a statistic. He's a person."
The quilt was conceived by the East Avenue Quilting group and Lentory Johnson whose 25-year-old son, Johnny, was killed in the 2015 Boys and Girls Club mass shooting.
"I still love my child. I miss him every day," Johnson said tearfully as she spoke about the quilt. "It's people that made up our community. The threads, to me, bear out the life that flowed throughout that community."'
On Tuesday night, the quilt was displayed at a ROC the Peace rally at First Genesis Baptist Church.
Johnson vowed it would not end up folded in a closet somewhere, instead it would be displayed to urge communities to take action.
"It's a crisis," she said. "It needs to be viewed and it needs to constantly, constantly, stay in the awareness of the community to have results."